Top Flow Cytometer
What is the top flow cytometer? The easy answer is the flow cytometer that matches your needs and fits within your budget. However, before running off to spend cash, consider the following.
What are the current needs of the users?
Evaluating the user’s needs will help define the parameters needed for the flow cytometer. This will include what excitation sources should be available, how many detectors are needed, including specialized detectors (small particle detectors), as the need for automatic sampling. All these factors will in weigh in on the
What are the projected future needs of the users?
This is where the crystal ball comes out. Predicting the future needs of the userbase is a difficult task. The best thing is to evaluate if the cytometer of interest is future proof? That is can it be expanded in capacity and capabilities as the research needs change.
Will the instrument be needed for clinical samples?
This is a specific, separate requirement because this will limit your choice of instrument based on governmental approval.
Evaluate the instrument.
As the choices are narrowed down, it is essential that the instrument is given a test drive. Make sure to plan to spend a week or so evaluating the instrument. Throw all manners of samples at the system. Learn about the limitations of the system, as well as the strengths by talking to others.
Understand the service side of things.
Downtime is a fact. All instruments will need repair from time to time. Knowing who the service engineer is and the response time is important before you make your final commitment.
At the end of the day, all the instrument vendors make excellent instruments. The onus is not to believe the slick marketing material that is handed out. Getting hands on the machine and spending time with real samples in the real-world setting is infinitely more valuable.
ABOUT TIM BUSHNELL, PHD
Tim Bushnell holds a PhD in Biology from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is a co-founder of—and didactic mind behind—ExCyte, the world’s leading flow cytometry training company, which organization boasts a veritable library of in-the-lab resources on sequencing, microscopy, and related topics in the life sciences.More Written by Tim Bushnell, PhD